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Wednesday 2 December 2020

Hans Olde’s etching with drypoint, “Friedrich Nietzsche”, c1899

Hans Olde (aka Hans Johannes Wilhelm Olde; Hans Johann Wilhelm Olde) (1855–1917)

“Friedrich Nietzsche”, c1899, published and printed in Berlin in 1899 by Friedrich Fontane (aka F. Fontane & Co) (1864–1941) in the art journal, “Pan”, vol. 5, issue 4.

Etching and drypoint with plate tone printed in brown ink on cream wove paper with wide margins.

Size: (sheet) 34.2 x 26.3 cm; (plate) 17 x 12.4 cm.

Inscribed on plate with the artist’s monogram at lower right corner: (ligature initials) “HO”.

The portrait shows the famous philosopher and poet, Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900), who cast an “enormous influence on Western philosophy and intellectual history” (IEP) at the end of his life when the great man was suffering mental illness (see: and,Western%20philosophy%20and%20intellectual%20history).

Museums Schleswig - Holstein & Hamburg offers the following insights about this etching:

(Transl.) “The portrait etching of Nietzsche brought the artist great fame. It appeared at a time when the worship of Nietzsche had reached its first climax and corresponded to the need for a portrait of the philosopher, of whom there were only artistically insignificant portraits. …

Working on the graphics turned out to be relatively difficult for Hans Olde - Nietzsche's sister Elisabth Förster allowed no one except the doctor to be admitted to the sick bed. The appointment was repeatedly postponed.

After the first requests were made to Olde in 1897, the first work on the philosopher's sick bed in Weimar did not begin until two years later. Numerous pencil, charcoal and oil sketches were made, and Olde also used the camera.”


See the description of this print at Karl & Faber (Auction 230, 6.11.2010, lot 304):

Condition: richly inked and strong impression. The sheet has generously wide margins and is in museum-quality/pristine condition with no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains, foxing or signs of handling.

I am selling this spectacularly fine etching (with drypoint) of the almost legendary Friedrich Nietzsche, for AU$312 (currently US$230.16/EUR190.96/GBP172.33 at the time of this listing) including Express Mail (EMS) postage and handling to anywhere in the world, but not (of course) any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries.

If you are interested in purchasing this sensitive portrait executed as the highly influential philosopher lay stricken with a mental disorder during his final days, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

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